Threatening livelihoods: Rawalpindi traders decry govt’s demolition plan

Published: October 17, 2018
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Rawalpindi Development Authority. PHOTO: ONLINE

Rawalpindi Development Authority. PHOTO: ONLINE

RAWALPINDI: A representative body of the traders said on Tuesday that the government functionaries were harassing traders to tear down their buildings in the name of anti-encroachment operation.

“Many buildings in Rawalpindi’s old city area date back to pre-partition days and their registries and building plans are unavailable,” said Markazi Anjuman Tajiran Chairman Malik Shahid Ghafoor Paracha.

During a meeting with Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) Chief Municipal Officer Syed Shafqat Raza, he said that demanding building plans of pre-partition buildings was absurd. Besides, shops and offices in old buildings have been sold on power of attorney to many peoples over the past century, he said.

The authorities should check their own records with the land revenue department to ascertain if any building was illegally built on state land, Parach said.

Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation has asked shop owners in 18 markets of the city to produce building plans and registries of their shops and buildings.

RMC officials visiting the markets have warned traders that government will demolish their shops and buildings if they fail to present the building plans and registries.

Teams formed by the municipal corporation’s planning department have started survey of the markets, serving notices to property owners on spot.

Operation

RMC carried out an anti-encroachment in Saddar and Shamsabad areas seizing two truckloads of goods from the densely populated markets.

The corporation’s anti-encroachment wing also tore down shades and awnings installed outside 15 shops.

During operation, people were given last chance to remove encroachment themselves.

RDA reassurance

Another delegation of the Markazi Anjuman Tajiran held a meeting with Rawalpindi Development Authority chief.

RDA Chairman Arif Abassi said that anti-encroachment operation would be carried out after consultation with trade bodies of the city.

Talking to a delegation of Markazi Anjuman Tajraan led by its President Sharjeel Mir who met with him at his office, Abbasi assured them that before the starting of anti-encroachment operation trade bodies would be taken into confidence.

The RDA chairman said that no one would be allowed to occupy the government land.

Mir said that traders were not against the anti-encroachment drive, but the harassment in the name of anti-encroachment.

He also said that due to encroachment and lack of parking space many markets of downtown areas were losing customers.

The RDA chairman while acknowledging the arguments of the traders assured them that their concerns would be addressed as traders are the back bone of the economy.

Machinery Dealers Association President Talha Tauqeer, General Secertary Nasir Mir and others were present on the occasion. 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2018.

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